Tennessee Titans General Manager Jon Robinson is heading into his sixth offseason. Robinson made it this far due to his ability to turn the franchise from a three-win team to a nine-win team.
He made some franchise-changing moves the moment he stepped foot into the organization. He has helped change the locker room’s culture and the organization, and he earned the devotion of Titans fans.
Let’s take a look at the most significant move he made in each offseason, and see how often his big moves have panned out or flopped. Note that this is written from the perspective of big moves at the time, not looking in hindsight. Also, this isn’t discussing draft picks.
2016 OFFSEASON: RB DEMARCO MURRAY TRADE
Jon Robinson stepped into the door and made a trade that helped change the locker room’s culture. Robinson swapped fourth-round picks with the Philadelphia Eagles and just happened to get DeMarco Murray involved in it as well.
Murray came to Tennessee and gave it the run game it needed. He led the AFC in rushing in 2016 and helped Marcus Mariota to a career-year.
This was the biggest move the Titans made that offseason at the time, aside from drafting Derrick Henry, of course. The Titans also got Rishard Matthews, who ended up being a decent receiver for Tennessee, but things ended on a sour note.
2017 OFFSEASON: CB LOGAN RYAN
This offseason was a bit tame, but the most significant move was signing former New England Patriot Logan Ryan.
The Tennessee Titans lost cornerback Jason McCourty that offseason, so replacing him was key to keeping the secondary intact. Ryan ended up panning out for Tennessee. He had a three-year contract that ended in the 2020 offseason when the Titans decided to let him walk.
Ryan ended up playing 45 games in Tennessee, getting four interceptions, 251 combined tackles, and ten tackles for loss. He also was used in the pass rush, getting 8.5 sacks and 13 QB hits.
2018 OFFSEASON: CB MALCOLM BUTLER
For the second offseason in a row, Jon Robinson makes a splash signing in the secondary. Jon Robinson landed another former Patriot to help bolster his defense.
Butler’s Tennessee Titans career got off to a rocky start, and it has been bumpy at times. However, Butler has also played some great football in Tennessee.
Butler signed a five-year, $61M contract with the Titans and at the time was known for his game-winning interception in the Super Bowl. Butler has since played in 41 games for Tennessee, garnering nine interceptions and 201 tackles.
Butler is still a Titan, and in 2020 he was one of the lone bright spots of that porous defense.
2019 OFFSEASON: G RODGER SAFFOLD; WR ADAM HUMPHRIES
This was the offseason when Jon Robinson traded a 4th round pick to Miami for Ryan Tannehill. In hindsight, that was the biggest move of this offseason. But at the time, getting offensive line and receiver help was the main goal for Tennessee.
Saffold was fresh off a great season with the Rams and signed a four-year, $44M deal with the Titans. His contract had $22.5M in guarantees. Although he’s had some rough patches, Saffold has created a bond and solid tandem on the left side of the line with left tackle Taylor Lewan.
As for Humphries, this move wasn’t the biggest splash of that offseason, but it provided a “security blanket” for, at the time, quarterback Marcus Mariota. A security blanket receiver is one of the more underrated roles of an offense.
The only problem is, Humphries is unable to stay healthy and live up to his four-year $36M contract.
I would say the Saffold move is slowly panning out. The Humphries one has been too inconsistent to consider it a success.
2020 OFFSEASON: DE JADEVEON CLOWNEY
The pass rush is a consistent thorn in the side of Jon Robinson. The Tennessee Titans haven’t had a dominant pass rusher since Jevon Kearse. They had Kyle Vanden Bosch before and Brian Orakpo as well.
The Titans are searching for its next big-time pass rusher, and the pressure is on to find one as their Super Bowl window is wide open.
The Titans believed Clowney was to be that guy. He was a former first-overall pick for the Texans in 2014.
Clowney had his best season in Houston with current Titans head coach Mike Vrabel as his defensive coordinator. Ever since that season, Clowney has been unable to recreate that production. And he flopped in 2020 with the Titans, garnering zero sacks.
The Tennessee Titans now need to address the pass rush for the 2021 offseason. There are plenty of them available as free agents. We will see who Jon Robinson’s next big-time signing is.
Featured image by George Walker IV/The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports